These homeowners had seven acres on which to grow things. But when four adjacent acres came onto the real estate market, the husband snapped them up. “He had two compelling motivations,” says Charles Hilton of Hilton-VanderHorn Architects in Greenwich. “He wanted more room to expand the garden, and he wanted to make sure that no monster spec houses were built there. The zoning allows for two-acre lots, so it was likely that there would soon be two McMansions in clear view.”
Home automation certainly isn’t a new concept, although most agree there was little progress between the Harappans inventing flush toilets in 2600 BCE and Hotpoint introducing electric toasters in 1905. In 1957 Monsanto and MIT raised the bar somewhat with the House of the Future (the future being 1986). Their Jetsonian edifice in Disneyland boasted centralized push-button controls for climate, entertainment, lighting and CCTV (so you could see who was ringing your doorbell from the WC). The attraction was deemed obsolete in 1967 and replaced with a giant planter.
As a little girl growing up on Nantucket, Karin Sheppard loved visiting her mother at her job as a seamstress at Nantucket Looms. “I’d watch the women sitting at the looms weaving these beautiful things with their hands,” she recalls. “It seemed magical to me.”
After graduating from college in the early 1980s, Sheppard planned to become a teacher, but when a position in education didn’t materialize, she took a job as a weaver at Nantucket Looms and stayed on for twenty years.
Text: Kyle Hoepner
A three-tiered, terraced plan defined by granite walls and a grove of birch trees integrates the house with the vegeable garden and shed at the opposite end of the long, narrow front yard, while respecting the wetlands and native woodlands that abut the property.
If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” The quotation comes from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 book, The Secret Garden, a tale that captivated a Connecticut homeowner when she was a child. Those words still hold so much resonance for the homeowner—now grown and with young grandchildren—that when she and her husband were seeking ideas for the two acres surrounding their house on Wilson’s Point in Norwalk, they turned to this story and other children’s literary classics for inspiration.
I did not know Edward Barnes well, but our paths crossed on several occasions. Not long before he died, he and Mary Barnes came to Haystack to meet with my architecture students and talk about the origins of the project, the direct conversation with the landscape, the respect for the site, and the ability to produce by hand, innovative architecture.
Nature may not be composed strictly of flat planes, straight lines and perfect circles, but you can’t find fault its own unique innate geometry. There is beauty in its unevenness, its resistance to clearly defined forms.
The ideal time to peek in on this Fairfield County paradise might be late afternoon, when golden sun patinas the roses. On the other hand, early-morning dew clinging to the silvery lamb’s ears is something to behold. And, of course, moonlight has its charms. Not limited by the clock or even the calendar, this pretty garden offers constant rewards. Summer, though, is its main focus and the season that best highlights not only the appealing plants and pool but also the well-conceived plan.
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New England Home showcases the unique architecture and superior design and building that define the luxury home in New England. From cutting edge lofts to historic dwellings, New England Home is your guide to the very best of New England style. Each issue includes beautifully produced images of our area’s most amazing homes, along with profiles of artists and artisans and all the latest resources and design trends.